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This impressive tusker was named by Dr Ian Whyte for the Spirowiri waterhole in the Shingwedzi River, South Africa (Spirowiri is the Tsonga word meaning ‘two difficult tasks’).
This bull was regularly seen between Shingwedzi and Red Rocks between 1989 and 1997 and recognised by well matched tusks, slightly bowed and curved. Despite his carcass never been found, he is presumed dead.
Many elephants die from natural causes. Just like humans, they can suffer from life-threatening diseases or abnormalities. They can be affected by environmental conditions such as drought. And they may sustain fatal injuries through accidents or fights with other individuals. Even if elephants lead a long and healthy life, they will finally die of starvation when their teeth can no longer function.
Photo copyright and text: South African National Parks